Greggs has announced that Roger Whiteside will be its next CEO. He starts 4 February.

Current CEO Ken McMeikan with step down on 8 March, following a handover period.

Whiteside, 54, has been a non-executive director of Greggs since March 2008. He is currently CEO at Punch Taverns.

Whiteside spent 20 years at M&S, ending up as head of food. He then became a founder of online grocer Ocado, serving as joint MD between 2000 to 2004. He then joined off-licence chain Threshers.

“I joined the Greggs board in 2008 and I have been impressed with the team, which I have got to know well,” Whiteside said. “I look forward to working with them to further develop our strategy. Greggs is a great business with an iconic brand that has strengthened considerably over the past few years. I believe we have a great future.”

Greggs chairman Derek Netherton added: “We are delighted to announce the appointment of Roger as chief executive. Not only has he got considerable management experience in retailing and food but also, as a non executive director of Greggs during a period of significant change, he has been involved in developing the strategy. He is very well respected within the company and his appointment will enable a smooth transition in what is still a challenging consumer environment.”

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Ken for his leadership since joining Greggs in 2008. Despite the double-dip recession, the company has grown its core estate significantly, opening record numbers of new shops in a variety of locations and formats, and entering new channels to market through franchising and wholesaling. He has also considerably enhanced Greggs’ commitment to putting the community at the heart of the business. Ken will leave us with our very best wishes for his continued success in the future.”

Greggs will release its preliminary results for the year ending 29 December 2012 on 20 March.